Sports Medley: The Concept of Bountygate is Alive and Well in the NFL 21
by Tony Medley
Bad Behavior is Allowed Because Good People Don’t Say Anything:
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s season was possibly ended (out at
least half a season) when he broke his clavicle in the third quarter of
the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But it was broken because
Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks flopped on top of him with all his 230
lb. weight as Romo was rolling onto his shoulder, which caused the
injury. Romo was already legally down and there was no reason for Hicks
to put all his weight on Romo at that time, except to injure him. Hicks
could have easily avoided what he did.
In case there is any doubt about Hicks’ intention, a couple of plays
later he kicked Dallas wide receiver Cole Beasley in the head when
Beasley was down after a reception, knocking Beasley’s helmet off. Hicks
was not penalized in either case but the NFL should review the films and
suspend him for at least four games. In fact, I think when a player
injures another player on an illegal play or when it was obviously
intentional, that the offending player should be suspended for as long
as the injured player is unable to play.
Last week Cincinnati Bengals’ Adam Jones took rookie Amari Cooper’s head
in both of his hands and smashed Cooper’s head hard against Cooper’s
helmet which had come off. Was Jones suspended? No, only fined. Even his
penalty for unnecessary roughness was offset by another penalty.
This week Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Daryl Smith gave Oakland Raider
wide receiver a knee in the head when he was down on the ground. When
Crabtree responded, Crabtree got the penalty. Again, Smith should be
suspended by the NFL when it reviews the films. Don’t hold your breath.
This issue wasn’t put to rest with the Bountygate scandal (2009-10), in
which players were paid bounties for knocking an opponent out of a game
with an injury, that caused New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton to be
suspended for a year. Maybe there aren’t any bounties being paid
anymore, but there are still lots of hit men in the NFL who will not
avoid the opportunity to seriously injure a star player on an opposing
team. They proliferate because they are not severely penalized.
The NFL is a league of brutish ruffians because these hooligans are
countenanced by everyone in the league office, up to, and including,
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Players' Association. This is foolish
because fans come to see the likes of Tony Romo play. When louts like
Hicks can end the season of a star like Romo with impunity, the league
and the players' union are just hurting themselves by not coming down
hard. Hicks should be suspended for a period that doesn’t terminate
until Romo returns.
“This is the only time this season that Mariota is feeling adversity”,
proclaimed Adam Archuleta, CBS announcer of the Browns-Titans game,
seven minutes into the first quarter of the second game of the season.
Commenting on a wide receiver who failed to catch a pass a few plays
later Archuleta said, “I thought maybe he could have came back to the
ball a little bit more.” Archuleta attended Arizona State University for
four years. What he learned there is unknown.
Mattingly Good and Bad: I’ve come down hard on Don Mattingly but
the bottom line is winning and the Dodgers are winning their division
easily, although their division is so weak the other teams are just
glorified minor leaguers. When the Yankees were dominating in the late
‘30s, people referred to manager Joe McCarthy as a “push button” manager
because all he had to do was fill out his lineup card with people like
Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey and all the other stars and
then sit back and watch them win. Mattingly has won by stacking his
lineup with .200 hitters and pulling his pitchers when they didn’t need
to be pulled. Still he wins.
That doesn’t mean that his decisions aren’t laughably ridiculous,
though. Typical was his game-losing decision Saturday when he pulled
Clayton Kershaw, one of the two most effective pitchers in baseball this
year, because the leadoff batter in the top of the 8th inning
of a 2-2 tie hit Kershaw’s 100th pitch for a double. Despite
the fact that Kershaw had allowed only 7 scattered hits, walked only two
and struck out 8, up popped Donnie Baseball, out came Kershaw, and in
came Chris Hatcher from the bullpen, who immediately allowed a line
drive double to left center to 37-year old, .248-hitting Aramis Ramirez,
driving in the winning run. The question is a simple one, who would you
rather have on the mound pitching with the game on the line, certain
Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, or journeyman Chris Hatcher? My position
is that anyone who would choose Hatcher doesn’t deserve to be managing a
major league baseball team, I don’t care how many games in front the